I am planning to writing further in the related series, "Making the Macedonian Call Normative in Missions Today" and "You Know You're a Continuationist When...," so stay tuned for those. Meanwhile, there's this.
Out of accession to popular culture, I want to take a moment to reflect on my white privilege. I can encourage other people by admitting that my life has been easier because of my skin color. I have to start with my father, who grew up in the rural upper midwest without electricity or indoor plumbing. All the heat and cooking for the house was in a black pot belly stove in their kitchen. Neither of his parents had a college degree. He was limited in school activities by the requirements of living on the family farm, including milking the cows every day before daybreak. He was placed in special education class while in junior high.
In another cold midwestern state, my mother was the oldest child and grew up in an apartment above a bar. Her dad was a drunk and her mother died of cancer when she was eight years old, at which time she started to keep the house and raise her younger brother. Her father remarried a woman, a heavily medicated chainsmoker, adding three more children to my mom's responsibilities.
My father and mother married at eighteen while my dad worked graveyard shift at a local factory. He worked that same shift for 17 years, my entire early childhood until 12 years of age, at which time my family moved for my dad to go to Bible college. There he was a full time student, his working two minimum wage jobs and my mom at a lunch counter downtown. We lived in government subsidized housing. We bought a Chevy Vega for eighty dollars, which had a hole in the floor through which we could see the road and exhaust blew into the car. The next vehicle was a Volkswagon with five adults and no heat. We took turns scraping ice and frost off the inside of the windshield.
Our family moved from government subsidized housing to something a little more than a shack besides the railroad tracks, literally on the other side of the tracks. We had a dug out basement with crumbling walls, where was our shower, a pipe sticking out of the wall, with a floor of deteriorating concrete.
White privilege. I understand, it's a weightless knapsack of assets and resources I was given when I was born white. Actually, no.
A key to my childhood is that I didn't think about privilege at all. I never knew I didn't have it good. I did have it good. No one told me I didn't. I thought I did. I was breathing. I lived in a free country. I believed in Jesus Christ. I had a home in heaven. I owned a Bible in English. We made ends meet. We survived. Whatever the stuff we had or didn't have wasn't important.
Everyone today is privileged if he grows up in the United States -- red and yellow, black and white. It is still a land of opportunity. Giving people even another impression is one of the worst things you could do to him. Even though some have it better than others, it doesn't have to stay that way. Even if it is true, you can be happy that someone has it better than you. That person is not holding you back -- be happy for him.
Everyone will still have trials and tribulations, face opposition. Even if the playing field is slanted in some way, it doesn't help anyone to tell him that. That's just the way it is in a sin-cursed world. Some are born on third base and others have to touch all four bases. What someone needs to hear is, you can do it. You can make it. You can succeed. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Take all of the energy dedicated to self-pity, wrap it in a ball, and send in the direction of a solution.
What should be required reading for schools is Up From Slavery, the autobiography of Booker T. Washington (the kindle edition is 60 cents). If I gave it a sub title it could be, Build a Better Brick, which is what Washington drilled into the students at Tuskegee. He didn't invoke white privilege. He said, you build a better brick. If you do, people will buy it. That's still what people need to hear, and not the alternative message of W. E. B DuBuois that sent crowds flooding to congregate around Washington D.C.
God created a world of potential and of exponential growth. In a few generations, one seed results in stalks of corn covering the face of the planet. It's not a zero sum game. Somebody else's gain is not my loss. There's more than enough for all of us. Most important is the grace of God. Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread."